The Australian author is back with her latest domestic thriller. This time the story explores the repercussions of a middle-class neighbourhood barbecue in Sydney with a group of couples and their children, which goes hideously wrong. What actually occurred on that fateful day emerges through glimpses of the characters both before and after the catastrophic event, as they cope, or struggle to cope with what happened. As always, Moriarty takes us on an emotional rollercoaster, leaving the reader desperate for answers. If you are looking for a book to devour from cover to cover this summer, this is it!
Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien. Granta, £12.99 (ebook £8.54). Review by Heather Doughty
Madeleine Thien’s third novel is a deeply profound and moving tale where music, mathematics and family history are beautifully woven together. Opening at the end, the narrative jumps forwards and backwards continually, starting in 1989 in both Hong Kong and Vancouver. Thien explains how two sisters survived the coming of the Red Guard, the drama of Tiananmen Square and aggressive land reforms. A master storyteller, Thien moves on to describe the enigmatic Sparrow, a genius classical music composer, his otherworldly cousin Zhuli and his obstinate and gifted best friend Kai. Full of wisdom and complexity, comedy and beauty.
Nina Is Not OK by Shappi Khorsandi. Ebury Press, £12.99 (ebook £7.99). Review by Alison Potter
Although Shappi Khorsandi is best known for her comedy chops, her debut fiction novel is a gritty and realistic portrayal of a 17-year-old girl’s spiral into alcoholism. That’s not to say it’s without laugh-out-loud moments, but it’s also an unflinching and painfully honest book that explores alcohol abuse, depression, the view of women in society and sexual consent. Nina is not always a likeable character. But that just adds weight and realism to a story that feels very timely, especially in the wake of the highly-publicised Stanford rape case. Nina Is Not OK is a powerful book and a cautionary tale, but it’s also a touching celebration of overcoming of adversity.
The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena. Bantam Press, £12.99 (ebook £7.99). Review by Emma Boyd
Billed as the new Paula Hawkins, Shari Lapena’s debut deals with every parent’s nightmare – their child being taken. The fast-paced psychological thriller follows Anne and Marco Conti, who discover their six-month old daughter has been kidnapped. Full of twists and turns, secrets and lies, we are introduced to a small bunch of characters and soon learn that any of them are capable of committing the crime – including the parents. Although the kidnapper is revealed in the first half of the book, the second half is just as gripping, going from who did it to how and why. This book is perfect as a quick read and for those who love to play detective?